Late-night snake encounter!

My desktop kinda broke over the holidays, which unfortunately held up work on this site. :/  I am happily back online, however, thanks to a nice new 17″ laptop that I finally set up! 😀

During my unintended leave of absence, I had a most exciting encounter with a snake – not during a hike, as one might expect, but during a late-night walk as I was passing around the back of a residential parking lot on Lantau. Not where you’d normally expect to find a snake!

It had obviously come down from the mountain behind the parking lot. The snake was long and slender, dark in colour, with stripes primarily running down the length of its body. It didn’t like me trying to take its photo (using zoom the whole time, I should add!), as it raised its head a few inches off the ground and fattened its head/neck, which had me freaking out that it might be a cobra!

Head raised (check out the creepy shadow), neck inflated and ready to strike! 😮

Not knowing whether it was venomous or not, and fearing it could even be a cobra, I kept a safe distance whilst the snake made its slithery escape back into the planter and open drain, where it seemed to remain. Now, most people would probably leave at this point, but after reviewing my pics and seeing how rubbish they looked, I couldn’t resist gingerly going over to take more, lol.

Escaping back into the planter and open drain on the other side from whence it came

Since the snake was no longer out in the open, I felt emboldened to deploy my phone camera’s flash, which really ticked it off, as it raised itself up again and lunged at me. Luckily, I was standing back and out of range, but that was a pretty whoa moment – and quite the adrenaline rush! Actually, the whole encounter was an adrenaline rush!!

My best photo is still pretty rubbish, but I didn’t want to tempt fate any further, and at least you can make out the snake’s head, one glowing eye, its puffed out neck (so not a hood, and thus not a cobra, phew!), and some markings. Upon further research (known as Googling, lol), it turns out that what I encountered was a Copperhead Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiatus).

My best rubbish photo, lol. At least I managed to capture the correct end of the snake, which I was later able to identify as a Copperhead Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiatus)

Copperhead Rat Snakes are thankfully non-venomous, but they are apparently swift, aggressive attackers and biters when cornered or handled. They are also known to raise up their heads by several inches and inflate their necks to make themselves appear bigger and more threatening, not unlike a cobra, and just as I had witnessed. Venomous or not, given their propensity to attack and bite, methinks it’s a good thing I kept my distance! 😮


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